A List Maker's Life: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This evening's family celebration of 2008 was a great reminder of our many blessings. As anticipated, we also "drew charms" to determine our individual fortunes for the new year.

~Gavin - cross charm
"Go into the unknown with your hand in the hands of God"

~Anne Hope - butterfly charm
"Be yourself & develop a skill that is unique to you"
(Can't wait to see what that may be!)

~Gibson - friendship charm
"Make at least one person happy every day"
(Not difficult with such an easy smile.)

~Kevin - dream charm
"Whatever your dream you can achieve it. With determination at the wheel, success you will feel."
(Kevin and I probably have different interpretations of where this could lead...)

~Katie - frog charm
"For you this year, a GREAT surprise! What could it be do you surmise?"
(Hmmm, surprises aren't really my thing...I prefer events well-planned out in advance. Hope it's hoppy!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking Forward to Looking Back

Over the last few years I have been gathering family tradition ideas, teaching them to others, and enjoying them with my family. Kevin and I have both planned for our New Year's Eve activity. It is a tradition we most look forward to.

We gather old magazines, pictures, stickers, and newspaper articles for some cutting and pasting. Each of us collect all of the items that remind us of the past year. We share the pictures with each other and relive the year's top stories. The main focus is our family news and notes. But, we do include politics, prices, world events, and pop culture. All of the cut-outs are compiled into a "Year in Review" collage.
For the back of our collage we each brainstorm and list a Hope, a Wish, and a Dream for the new year.

The past year's collages are laminated and have become our placemats for our New Year's Eve dessert. For dessert we make homemade hot cocoa. Each year we have tried a different recipe, which adds to the cocoa fun. Cocoa is accompanied by a "Charming Cake." Every piece of cake has a small silver charm hidden inside. When the cake is served we dig for our charm and read aloud our corresponding wish or fortune for the new year. As a personalized twist, we have written our own fortunes to go with each charm depending on the shape or design.

It will be exciting to see how the '08 review comes together!

Monday, December 29, 2008

That's a Wrap

At the beginning of 2008 we listed our predictions for the year.As the year now ends, it is time to review our predictions and see how we did.

~ A Democrat will win the White House – Yes.

~ Tigers will be in the World Series – No, Bummer.

~ One engagement in the family (hmmm...I wonder which family?) – Not this year. CANCEL that, news just in...Congratulations Jessica!!!

~ Anne Hope will "insist" on an all PINK wardrobe - More like… all pink EVERYthing!

~ A Republican must win the White House! - sorry.

~ New England will not win the Super Bowl. True, NY Giants were the champions for '08.

~ The Pistons will again reign supreme as will the Red Wings – Piston’s lost in the playoff, but the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.

~ Someone in our family will shoot a record book buck in the fall! – Would that record go to Roger III?

~ Uncle Roger’s family will visit Lobsterfest in Rockland Maine – From the pictures it looks like it was a great time!

~ Pete and Amy will finally paint their house, and it will take all summer. - Maybe next year?

~ Peyton's first word will be "hi" or "dada" - dada, it was!

~ The Lions will STILL stink - More than ever!

~ The presidential race will boil down to Barack Obama and Fred Thompson – Obama & McCain

~ Britney Spears finally gets the help she needs, moves away from Hollywood and begins to turn her life around. Amazing! People magazine gave her an award for “Best Comeback of 2008”

~Someone will soon turn 30 – Unfortunately.

~Someone else will be 20 – Yes.

~Someone will complete their Masters – Yeah!

~Someone will put Honda back in their life – Del Sol in, Del Sol out.

~Many will again lose the 5 lbs.+ gained over the holidays – here we go again

Be thinking about your ideas for 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On My Nightstand

1) Every Now and Then, Kingsbury
This is the third book in a 9/11 series

2) The Lights in the Sky, Ergang
I am currently helping my cousin edit this manuscript

3) Family Fun magazine, December
Probably full of many creative Christmas ideas that we might just miss out on

4) Tales from the Crib, Green
New baby scenarios that hit close to home!

5) The Story of Edgar Setwalle, Wroblewski
This book has been highly recommended
6) Multiple Blessings, Gosselin
I borrowed this from a friend -- I can't imagine having 6 infants at once!!
7) Why We're Not Emergent By Two Guys Who Should Be, DeYoung & Kluck
I have actually read through this already-- highly informative
The pile continues to grow, as I have a lot more interest than time for reading right now! Any books beckoning you to relax & read when the busy Christmas season has passed?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Moments Worth Remembering

1) "What was Santa thinking?" exclaimed Gavin as he opened his new electronic drum set.

2) "Is there a stocking for me? for Gavin? for Gibson?" questioned Anne Hope. She was so thoughtful and wanted to be sure that there was something special for everyone. She even took the time to help Gibson "open" all of his presents before she started her own.

3) "Wii are pretty excited!" Dad's surprise gift of a Wii gave us many funny one-liners. Anne Hope thought we were really losing it with "a Wii, Wii here and a Wii, Wii there" so she joined in with some "potty talk" of her own.

4) Gibson gave us an early Christmas gift by sleeping through the night on the 23rd...no repeat performance as of yet!

5) "Mom, I should have believed you & Mipsy...Santa IS real." It was special to enjoy the magic of Christmas through the kids' eyes. They were at the perfect age for the wonder of it all. Gavin started the season as a skeptic, but we made a believer out of him.

6) "Where is Joseph?" the kids asked while enjoying the Imagine Christmas show. They are beginning to understand the real miracle of the season.

7) Driving together, through the snow, to Grandma & Grampa's house on Christmas Eve we enjoyed favorite carols on the radio.

8) After a week of hustle, bustle & plowing Kevin and I really enjoyed our quiet Christmas house late Christmas Eve, as we caught up on a week's worth of events, wrapped gifts, hung stockings, and ate Santa's cookies!

9) Three adorable babes all cozy-ed up in new jammies.

10) The kid's praying, "Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for Christmas."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Comfort & Joy

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"Christmas sure is sweet," said Piglet. "Babies, too."
"That's why they go together most delightfully," said Pooh.


The other night Gavin was reminding me of his wish list for Santa. Following each item he mentioned, Anne Hope chimed in with a wish of her own. After my careful note taking here are the lists we ended up with.

~ drums
~ a camera
~ a doctor kit
~ Geo Trax
~ a pirate ship

Anne Hope:
~ pink drums - "yeah, I want pink drums too"
~ a pink camera - "I like a pink camera"
~ a pink doctor kit – “oh, I want a pink doctor too”
~ pink Geo Trax
~ a pink, Hello Kitty belt
~ a pink bunny “like Gavin has”
~ a pink car seat – “a little tiny one, so I am little, so I want it”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snap Happy

Top 10 Photos to Take this Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

525,600 Snowflakes

We are pretty snowed in here in West Michigan and would love to see Grampa & Grandma's Florida sun. But, just in case they are missing the Christmasy weather we thought we'd "send" out a little snow from home.
The back porch

Gavin the reindeer prancing through the snow
Don't worry Grampa, you have the MOST efficient plow driver!

How do we measure?
Measure in snow!
Season of Snow...

Santa Baby




Gibson - 7 weeks old

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Our favorite radio station is playing all Christmas music this weekend. The kids and I are enjoying it and talking about our own faves.

Anne Hope -
Happy Birthday, Jesus: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Gavin -
Sleigh Ride: Relient K
Jingle Bell Rock: Point of Grace

Gibson -
Silent Night: mom version

Kevin -
Anthem for Christmas: Michael W. Smith

Katie - They change yearly, but this year #1 is a tie between...
Child of Love, Sara Groves
I Celebrate the Day, Relient K

What are your favorite Christmas songs? Leave a comment, we'd love to hear from you.

Friday, December 19, 2008


When we woke to the news of a snow day this morning I was actually excited! I had sweet visions of me and my kiddos, together in the kitchen, doing our Christmas baking.

On the list for today:
1) Gingerbread Cookies
2) Sugar Cookies with Frosting
3) Fudge Bon-Bons

Baby G had just settled in for his long morning nap and the kids were washed, dressed, and ready to help! And that is were the mess began...

1) After assembling all of the dry ingredients for the gingerbread it was time to add water. Anne Hope heard "water" and turned on the faucet - right over the bowl! YIKES!
2) In order to save the gingerbread dough we had to add extra flour - just the beginning of our indoor snowstorm.
3) The sticky dough required extra flour while being rolled out.
4) "Mom! Gibson is crying. I'll help him." - flour fingers enter bedroom...
5) "Thanks for helping him Gavin, please wash before you come back to bake." - flour fingers enter bathroom...
6) Gibson, now screaming, needs mom. Great...2 toddlers alone in the kitchen with flour and dough
7) Giving up on gingerbread, the few men who made it to the tray went in the oven to bake
8) All of the gingerbread creations emerged from the oven with broken limbs - too much flour I guess?
9) Ah, sugar cookies will be easier! I cheated this year and bought pre-made dough.
10) More crying...More flour...More mess...
11) After putting Gibson back to sleep in his car seat I went back to helping the kids with the cookie cutters, while standing on one leg and rocking the car seat with the other - flour feet enter car seat...
12) Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with me, the oven timer, and the temperature button. However, we managed to burn 4 trays worth of cookies. How about the only tray that didn't burn? Well, the oven wasn't even ON anymore. No wonder the cookies weren't getting golden. Forget the sugar cookies!
13) Bon-Bons are my favorite and don't require any rolling in flour - right?
14) Someone snuck into my chocolate chip bag during his midnight snack and there aren't enough left for the recipe.
15) Good thing I keep a backup bag hidden for just such occasions
16) I guess the stove top was still too hot from the cookie trays. Within a minute of adding the chips to the pan they burned into a giant clump.
17) Okay, attempt a 1/2 recipe with the open chocolate chip bag
18) The dough was too sticky. Time to add more flour...
19) Is it nap time yet???

Lessons Learned:
1) Christmas baking is fun for the kids, not so much fun for mom!
2) Pre-made dough makes no difference.
3) Gibson has decided to switch his long winter's nap to the afternoon
4) Do not attempt any baking next year without at least four adult hands...better yet...wait until after the 8:00 bedtime to even begin!!
5)Plowing snow may just be more desirable than plowing flour
6) Listen to the still small voice, "Katie, you don't need the sweets!"

Can you believe I don't have a single picture to show for the event? (Thank goodness I didn't get the camera out, I probably would have dropped it in a pile of flour)

Who's the Real Fan?

Kevin and Gavin have always enjoyed building Legos together. Recently Kevin found a site that gives step by step directions for all of his old Lego sets. Now my guys have been sneaking away every spare moment to sort Legos and put together "vintage" kits.

This week they've built:
1. The Forest Men's Fortress
2. The Knight's Castle
3. 1976 Firetruck (adaptation)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Swapping Activities

The kids had a great time putting together foam ornaments today. The kit was part of the activity swap I organized with some of my other mom friends. Thanks, Shelby, for the fun project!

Here were some of the details from our first activity swap!
~Each participating mom made 8 identical activity bags
~Each activity was assembled, with instructions, into a gallon sized zip lock bag
~Each bag was expected to be include an activity geared toward preschool aged children, with enough materials for 2 kids to enjoy
~Each participating family received 8 different bags in return
~Each time I open a new bag my own preschoolers are really excited to find out what our activity will be

This first swap featured a fun variety of crafts, a couple games, a puppet and story, & a great poem activity. I am looking forward to organizing another swap in early January. If you are interested just let me know, we would love to include you. If you live too far away maybe you will consider "hosting" a swap of your own with the friends in your area.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jolly Lolly

Today we had fun putting together another sweet Christmas decoration.

~white paper
~red or patterned paper
~circle punch
~craft sticks

The kids had the most fun punching out the circles. Arranging them in the spiral pattern was a little tricky for little hands. I helped with the glitter on the lollies in the picture, but the kids did squeeze glitter on some of the others. We think these will make a fun garland over our kitchen curtain after they are strung together on a larger ribbon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas with the Family

Click to play Be Merry
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Revisiting WHY?

Today marks the first anniversary of A Listmaker's Life. Today I have spent some time reviewing our posts and reliving a year of fun times. I think there is almost more info here than in my volumes of scrapbooks - smiles!

It was interesting for me to revisit our opening post. Why Not check it out?
~Blogging has proven to be a fun way for me to stay connected with our friends and family.
~No doubt I have made spelling and grammatical mistakes - oh well!
~It is okay with me when my titles aren't clever after all
~Blogging has become another outlet for my desire to make memories, share creativity, and document our daily goings-on

Hopefully in the next year I will be able to:
~Continue conversations with family and friends
~Occasionally remember to include "my lists" in my posts
~Convince Kevin to come up with some of our entries
~Read many more fun comments, reactions, and insights from all of you

Thank you all for staying connected with this "Listmaker" and our family life.

6 Weeks




Friday, December 12, 2008

Comfy, Cozy Couchy

Gibson claimed the first snooze on our new couch.

I can't wait for my turn.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Sweet Friends + Sweet Project = Sweet Distraction

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Deck the Halls

In the decorating spirit, Anne Hope enjoyed making a pom-pom garland for her Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Huff and Puff, You Won't Blow This House Down

Decorating a gingerbread house is a sweet memory every year...

...after the icing issues have been smoothed over!

It is almost impossible to get the right consistency using the simple directions on the icing box. Just as impossible to wait for the icing to set enough to hold the walls together. Thank goodness the kids had help on this project from the more patient parents - their grandparents.

Too late to use this year, I will be making note for next year of a "mom tip" I just heard.
What's the trick to making it stick?
Supposedly, after microwaving honey for a short 12 seconds on high it becomes the perfect wall paste for the house. In addition to holding its texture and adequately adhering any treats, it is a healthier option if the kids decide to munch on the house after the holidays. (That however is not something I would encourage!)

If you still have a gingerbread house to assemble this season I would love to hear if it works for you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You Know Dasher and Dancer...

Meet Annson, Gibsom, Nevin, Mann, and Kegin

From the mixed-up names and print sizes can you figure out who contributed to each reindeer combo?

" I Just Miss My Camper"

With all the snow we are getting here in Holland we certainly would not enjoy a night in the camper. Yet, Anne Hope has been moping around the house wishing she could sleep in the pop-up. During one of Kevin's nights away in the plow truck, the kids set up camp in our room. Snuggled into their sleeping bags, under a homemade tent, the four of us stayed close for the night in our makeshift campsite.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gibson - 5 weeks

This weekend our little monkey got his first pair of wooden shoes from Sinterklaas, as we celebrated the traditional Dutch tradition on December 5th.

Friday, December 5, 2008

All is Calm...So Sleep

live the gospel
While listening to a contemporary version of Silent Night, by Sanctus Real, I was struck by the miracle of that moment so long ago in Bethlehem. Honestly, quite overwhelmed. Yes, there are so many pieces of the story that are remarkable. Yet, this year I am reflecting on “all is calm.” God must have given sweet Mary such amazing peace that evening. From my most recent experience, the birth of a new baby is amazing, exciting, and emotional. Calm? Not particularly. In the midst of that experience, God gave Mary the peace to forget about the “to-do list” of the moment. I love that!

She was not focused on:
~visiting with the shepherds
~spreading the news with the angels
~anticipating all of the visitors
~documenting the experience with words & pictures
~cleaning out the stable
~avoiding the smells and sounds of the animals
~caring for Joseph’s needs
~planning for the activities of the coming days

Instead, she was able to recognize that all that really mattered in that moment was the precious baby, Jesus, that she held in her arms. A miracle! That was her focus. The newborn babe was safe, healthy, fed, and calm. So, Mary rested.

There is a lesson in this for all of us this holiday season…myself included. Especially.